Yesterday I touched on the history of the Sony Xperia Z family, but you’d be forgiven for having head-butted your screen in frustration; it’s complex stuff.
Yep, despite being just 18 months old, the Sony Xperia Z family already has a healthy five members (arguably more), and the rumour mill suggests there are several foetuses currently being moulded to perfection behind the scenes. Below: the story so far.
For those wondering: ‘What the hell’s an Xperia Z?’ we’re essentially dealing with Sony’s flagship range, similar to Samsung’s Galaxy S, LG’s G, and HTC’s One. There are countless other letter-based Xperias on the market, but to include them would necessitate a friggin’ textbook of colossal proportions. So let’s not go there.
Sony Xperia Z
Launched: CES, January 2013
Grabbing the Sony smartphone flagship banner from the Xperia S, or arguably the short-lived Xperia T, the Japanese manufacturer unveiled the first member of the Xperia Z family in January 2013, in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The original Sony Xperia Z was notable for being one of the first big-name phones with a 1080p display, beating the Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One to the proverbial punch.
And not forgetting resistance to dust and water, something that’s fast becoming the norm for Android flagships.
Having generally been behind the curve circa Sony Ericsson, the Japanese were suddenly giving the big names something to worry about.
Sony Xperia Z specs: 5in 1080p display, quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor, 2GB RAM, 13.1MP rear camera
Sony Xperia Z Ultra
Launched: June 2013
With the Samsung Galaxy Note and Note 2 proving naysayers wrong and establishing that there was indeed a market for big-screened, pocket-punching phones, it was only a matter of time before Sony released a “phablet”.
Enter: the Sony Xperia Z Ultra.
If anything, the Sony Xperia Z Ultra aimed a little too high, with the display measuring a frankly astounding 6.4in diagonally. At that time, the Samsung Galaxy Note series maxed out at 5.5in, and while the 5.7in Note 3 joined shortly thereafter, it was still a fair bit smaller than the gargantuan Z Ultra.
The notion of the Sony Xperia Z Ultra perhaps being a little too large was given credence with the launch of a Wi-Fi only version in January this year. It’s essentially a small(ish) tablet.
Sony Xperia Z Ultra specs: 6.4in 1080p display, quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor, 2GB RAM, 8MP rear camera
Sony Xperia Z1
Launched: IFA, September 2013
At this stage in the game, most other manufacturers would be thinking: ‘We’ve got a flagship, we’ve got a phablet; let’s play it cool for a few months and do it all over again next year.’ But not Sony.
In a tradition dating back to 2011’s Xperia Arc and Arc S, and continued with 2012’s Xperia S and Xperia T, the Japanese manufacturer opted to refresh its flagship model twice in one year.
The big story here was the addition of a 20.7MP rear camera, while the processor was upped to a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 (from Snapdragon 600 on the original Xperia Z).
Sony Xperia Z1 specs: 5in 1080p display, quad-core Qualcomm Snapragon 800 processor, 2GB of RAM, 20.7MP rear camera
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
Launched: CES, January 2014
In the world of Android, various manufacturers have a propensity for churning out seemingly half-hearted “mini” versions of their respective flagship phones, but while they might resemble the big guys on the outside, the internals are almost invariably watered down to mid-level nonsense. Boo.
But wait! What’s this? A smartphone with a reasonably-sized display and flagship-level specs? It must be the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact, which is, for our money, still the only “mini” phone to get it right.
Yes, the resolution is 720p instead of 1080p, but we’re dealing with a smaller display, and you’re getting the same processor, RAM and rear camera as the larger Xperia Z1. Perfect.
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact specs: 4.3in 720p display, quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor, 2GB RAM, 20.7MP rear camera
Sony Xperia Z2
Launched: MWC, February 2014
The latest Sony Xperia flagship, the Xperia Z2, is already in danger of being succeeded, in particular by the Sony Xperia Z3, which I wrote about yesterday. Looking at Sony’s recent form, the announcement of the Xperia Z3 at IFA 2014 would fit perfectly.
In the meantime, the Sony Xperia Z2 offers a 5.2in display – slightly larger than the Z1, the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor, 3GB of RAM, and 4K video recording.
As for the Sony Xperia Z3, possible specs include a QHD resolution (2560 x 1440) and the newer Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 processor.
Sony Xperia Z2 specs: 5.2in 1080p display, quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor, 3GB of RAM, 20.7MP rear camera